When you have the opportunity to ask some of the most interesting people in the world about their lives, sometimes the most fascinating answers come from the simplest questions. The Thrive Questionnaire is an ongoing series that gives an intimate look inside the lives of some of the world’s most successful people. 

The excess of strong opinions, fake news, and harsh comments being shared by the millisecond online is something that the singer Mapei thinks about a lot. In fact, her new album — titled Sensory Overload — is filled with songs that shine light on societal issues such as these. Take, for example, her song “Rise Up” (which Time describes as “both gospel and undeniable pump-up jam”): It was adapted from a slogan used by her activist father, and like most of Mapei’s music, it provides a powerful message for us to embrace our true selves, despite the harmful critics we encounter both on social media and IRL

Here, in her Thrive Questionnaire, Mapei opens up about turning points in her own life, and why she avoids a “groundhog day” existence.

Thrive Global: What’s the first thing you do when you get out of bed?

Mapei: I take a shower. That is the best way to wake up. Especially if the shower is cold. It sets the tone for the day. 

TG: What gives you energy?

M: I hate a so-called “groundhog day life” — I do not want to do the same thing everyday. I want to stay busy with constant stimulation of new people.

TG: You unexpectedly find 15 minutes in your day, what do you do with it?

M: I try to call loved ones. I am so busy at times so I forget to include my family in what’s going on in my life. It is so fulfilling to hear a laugh or encouraging words from them. It keeps me pushing on. 

TG: When was the last time you felt you failed and how did you overcome it? 

M: When I’m in a studio and nothing comes out… writer’s block. I tend to be afraid of that but then I give it time. Songs come and go. I taught myself to be receptive of all melodies that come to me so that I can keep up the songwriting. 

TG: Do you have any role models for living a thriving life?

M: People inspire me everyday. Genuine people that overcome obstacles and are open to change. 

TG: Tell us about a small change you have made in your life to improve the way you connect with others. 

M: I have learned that no one knows your thoughts, so you have to speak up. Communication is the key to connection. 

TG: What was the biggest turning point in your life?

M: When I came out with my first song. I received such a hype. Everyone knew me. Now I don’t believe in such a thing. I keep a small circle. 

TG: At the age of 10, you moved with your mother to Sweden and began a new life in a new and unfamiliar country. Did that shape you in any way?

M: It was so surreal. It gives you another sense of reality. Your view on the world becomes more broad. I love the system in Sweden. It is such a functioning society. 

TG: Your new album promotes self-empowerment. What made you want to create music surrounding this topic? 

M: I need the strength of self. I have to empower myself in order to feel secure with my position on this earth. So when I sing empowering songs, it’s often me singing for myself. If others become empowered, all the better. 

TG: What helps you stay true to your unique self?

M: 1.) I don’t worry about consumption. Materialism does not make me or break me. 2.) I stay humble. That way you never get disappointed. 3.) I try not to be hard on myself. We can always do our best but if that does not work, then we’re onto the next. 

TG: You wrote a song called “rise up” — what are three ways we can all rise up today?

M: Stand tall — represent yourself because no one will do that better than you. 

Be proud of yourself — you made it this far! Keep working towards fulfilling your dreams. 

Wake up; stay alert. Look alive, and do not take what is given.